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Common Failures of the Kia Rio: Problems, Solutions and Reliability!

The Kia Rio is a very complete car that can come as either a hatchback or a compact sedan. The resale value of some Kias is good, but not exceptional compared to other models from brands like Subaru or Toyota. But like every car must have a problem, here we bring you all the common failures of the Kia Rio.


A Kia Rio will lose 45% of its value after five years. The Kia Rio has been in production since 1999. In this article, we’ll discuss the common problems and overall reliability of the Kia Rio throughout its more than two decade history.

How good is the Kia Rio?

The Kia Rio has earned excellent marks for its overall reliability. This sedan has earned a score of 4.5 out of 5.0. This means that a Kia Rio owner will pay less in repairs per year on average and have fewer trips to the mechanic.

Most of the vehicles in the sedan-hatchback category only earned an average score of 4.0 out of 5.0. Owners should expect the Kia Rio to be more reliable than other vehicles in the class.

This high score is indicative of Kia’s investments in being a better vehicle manufacturer. During the 1990s, Kia vehicles were notorious for being cheap and of poor quality. Kia’s reputation may not yet be as good as brands like Toyota, but Kia has stepped up and is now arguably on par with them.

Kia gives its customers a lot of confidence in the reliability of its vehicles because it guarantees the quality of its cars with one of the best new car warranties.

Common failures of the Kia Rio

Although this is an exceptionally reliable vehicle, it still has some common Kia Rio faults. Luckily, most of them are fairly minor and can be fixed with a simple replacement.

These common Kia Rio problems should help you find out what’s wrong with your Kia Rio or just what you need to know about in the future. We will also give you suggestions on what to do if your Kia Rio has one of these problems.

1- Engine failures

The engine misfires and has a rough idle . The Rio is famous for the speed at which it passes the spark plugs. If your engine misfires and has a rough idle, the cause is usually the spark plugs. You can buy a replacement, but it’s also worth checking the wiring to the spark plugs, as that too can be damaged.

2- Problems with the infotainment system

There has been an issue with the 2011 to 2016 Kia Rio where audio would suddenly stop playing from all speakers. This is caused by a software glitch . Fortunately, repairing the problem does not require replacing anything.

The navigation unit simply needs a ” hard reset “, which can be done by disconnecting the negative terminal of the Rio’s battery, waiting 15 minutes, and reconnecting it.

3- Driving is very bumpy

Early models of the Rio had constant suspension issues, so yours is likely worn out. Replacing a suspension system is a pretty big job, but you can always buy a replacement, and there are guides online to walk you through the process.

4- Transmission problems

Several owners have reported that their Kia Rio has transmission problems. This issue has been reported through model years 2004 through 2014. While the issue can vary from case to case, drivers have felt the transmission get confused as to whether or not to shift into a gear. determined.

One owner reported that the transmission would constantly select second gear instead of first during climbs, making the climb excruciatingly slow even when the foot was already on the ground. Transmission systems often sense when the engine is having trouble and often downshift to produce more torque .

This problem also persists in low gears, where the transmission insists on shifting into third gear early. This makes acceleration to speeds up to 60 mph sluggish, causing eager drivers to become frustrated by the Rio’s acceleration.

These problems can be fixed by reprogramming the transmission control module with the latest transmission software. These updates are most effective on newer Kia Rio models. That being said, the aforementioned issues can also be caused by a failed component in the transmission, however this is rare.

It is recommended that whenever major transmission repairs are performed, the transmission software should also be checked and updated as necessary.

5- Excessive vibration

The car vibrates a lot, the steering turn is weaker and some of the tires wear out quickly. The rear shock rubber mount has failed, and you’re going to have to find replacement units. You should also check the rear wheel bearings, as they may have also developed a failure as a result of the degradation of the rubber mounts.

6- Problems with child insurance

The rear door child locks often do not work . This is caused by the release lever cable being too short. The problem is that it often seems to work correctly, and was a recall issue for Rios made in 2017. It can be done by Kia dealers for free, but it’s not a guarantee. Fortunately, you can do it yourself.

7- Loud engine noise

Rattling or pinging sounds from the engine have been reported by some owners. While this may be an isolated problem, as it has only been reported four times for the 2013 model, this may just be an issue that Kia Rio owners simply ignore. An owner reported that this noise has been occurring since the vehicle was new. The noise also seems to only occur when the owners are accelerating .

There doesn’t seem to be a definitive solution to the problem. One owner speculated that it was caused by a faulty timing chain; another driver claims to have found a solution by manually shifting the gears of his automatic transmission past 2,500 rpm. He says the engine isn’t tuned to handle loads below 1,700 rpm, so it makes the noise to indicate he’s struggling.

This may be related to the previously mentioned problem with the Kia Rio’s transmission shifting prematurely. If this loud engine noise is related to the aforementioned transmission problem, then the same software update could, in theory, also be a fix for this problem.

8- Noisy power steering

When turning the steering wheel, the power steering rack makes excessive noise. This is due to a lack of sufficient lubrication in the oil sealing ring on the input shaft.

This problem is usually due to a manufacturing error . You will need to buy a new oil seal, making sure it is well lubricated before changing it. Find your replacement oil seal.

9- Illuminated ABS light

The ABS warning light illuminates on your dash, but there are no obvious signs of a fault, and the car’s brakes feel fine. It is very likely that the rear wheel sensor that is attached to the bearing has broken. This can happen quite often on the Rio, but you should know that it is an easy fix.

10- Faults in the air conditioning compressor

Another problem could arise with the Kia Rio’s air conditioning compressor. Some owners have reported that their car’s air conditioning compressor starts making loud noises accompanied by vibrations and sometimes a rubber or plastic smell. This is due to wear on the air conditioning compressor clutch.

To end

Reading through these common Kia Rio problems should help you find out what is wrong with your Kia Rio or simply what you need to look out for in the future. Follow these suggestions so you know what to do if your Kia Rio has one of these problems.

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